Santander plans closure of 56 bank branches to reduce overlap

SANTANDER is understood to be closing 56 of its branches to reduce the overlap that has been created following the mergers of Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley.

The move comes as the Spanish bank continues to negotiate the takeover of 318 Royal Bank of Scotland branches which is due to be completed by the end of 2012 – a year behind schedule.

The closures of former Alliance & Leicester or Bradford & Bingley branches are taking place on high streets where the bank already has three outlets.

The group has a 1,200-strong network of branches and 107 locations where there are currently three branded units.

The bank is reportedly closing units in 56 in these places to consolidate its operations – although it is likely to find itself with new overlap once it has absorbed the 318 RBS branches.

Santander, which entered the UK in 2004 through its purchase of former building society Abbey National, has been looking for an opportunity to float in London for over a year but has been set back by delays in acquiring those branches, as well as the weak state of London’s capital markets.